Cloud computing seems to be on everyone's lips at the moment. In the world of business IT and data management, many seem to be touting its benefits to anyone who will listen. While it is tempting to be skeptical and cloud computing certainly does have its critics when it comes to security, it is worth looking carefully at exactly what it has to offer international businesses. Both large multi-nationals and small businesses who work with international clients can get considerable value from cloud services if they know what to look for and how best to utilise them.
Many people are confused about what exactly cloud services are. Essentially, they are web based applications allowing users to communicate and share data. Webmail is an example of a simple cloud service. Unlike email run from a company server, it can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. Employees who work remotely or who travel for work are able to keep in touch easily and quickly. The potential of cloud services to improve employee communication and productivity is huge, and there are many different kinds of services coming onto the market to suit all kinds of business. At the basic level, email, telephone and word processing can all be moved onto a cloud based system. For businesses who work internationally, these are perhaps the most valuable applications to move onto the cloud as using them avoids the need for employees to connect to a server every time they want to discuss an issue or share a document. However, these are far from the only applications of cloud computing. Depending on the business' needs, there are many other potentially useful services coming onto the market. These include: project management systems, accounting tools, web hosting, customer relationship management and many more. Expect the range and quality of services on the market to improve over the coming years as cloud computing takes off.
Apart from ease of access, another major benefit of cloud computing for businesses that operate internationally is that it is so universal. With webmail and social media being ubiquitous across the world, it should be easy to train staff or clients at companies across the globe. These are systems that work for everyone - they don't need to be IT experts. It is also easy to make sure that everyone in a company can use the same software - cloud computing does away with the need for individual software licenses. While it is not a total IT solution yet, it is likely to become so very soon.